European stock exchange Euronext will go live with its core equities trading platform at the end of March. The launch will take place just ahead of its planned IT-driven merger with the New York Stock Exchange.
Euronext has been testing the IBM Linux-based equities platform for several weeks with its members and 20 software suppliers. It said the overhaul was crucial because of the continued rapid growth in share trading volumes. New hedge fund customers are also adding to the demands on Euronext's platform.
The stock exchange said new trading techniques, such as algorithmic trading, were pushing up the number of trades that the equities platform has to handle.
Euronext CIO Tarak Achiche said the timing of the switchover was dictated in part by his confidence in the reliability of the hardware and the stability of the Linux operating system. "That is why we decided to move from our proprietary platform to an open platform," he said.
The platform will move from HP Tandem servers to IBM X86 boxes. But Achiche said the proprietary operating system running on the HP servers would only be turned off after the platform has been successfully running on the Linux IBM servers for some time.
"The new server estate will use less power than the old hardware. What we know is that we can put much more density in the datacentre with the new hardware because of the lower power consumption," he said.
The platform will reduce the time taken to process a transaction from 90 milliseconds to less than five milliseconds. About 500,000 equity transactions are processed by the platform every day.
Mifid is top challenge for stock exchange
Euronext's main focus for 2007 is implementing the European Union's Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Mifid), according to the stock exchange's CIO Tarak Achiche.
From 1 November, the European Union will strip away the regulations that force banks to use their national stock exchanges. Mifid also puts a requirement on banks to find the best price for their transactions, regardless of where the stock exchange is located. Euronext expects to detail its plans after national regulators publish further details about the regulations at the end of January.
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